New Normals: A photo essay

Writing and Photography by Jessica Fuentes

When I first started hearing news about the coronavirus in China I didn’t understand the seriousness of this disease and how it would quickly come to change everything about our lives. I had taken vacation time to spend part of Spring Break with my family and when I returned to work on Thursday, March 12 I was surprised to hear that attendance had been low and people were opting to stay home. That evening and the next morning, conversations were brewing at the museum about potentially closing to the public. I attended a series of meetings on Friday, March 13 and felt like I was getting new updates every hour about what this would mean for our institution, staff, and community. 

That day felt like a whirlwind, and though I would still go into the office the following Monday to gather files and prepare myself and my team for working from home for the foreseeable future I knew everything had changed. As a photographer, I am always documenting my life and the world around me. Through the images below you can get a glimpse into the world as my family (husband, 13 year old daughter, 2 year old daughter, and various dogs) and I have experienced it the past few weeks. See the caption with each image for additional text.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This new normal for my family has had its ups and downs. Being (mostly) confined to our somewhat small home and trying to focus on work in a shared space with a teenager, a two year old, and my significant other has been difficult. Worrying about when the museum will reopen, when or if schools will be back in session, and if my loved ones or I will get sick has been a slow build-up of anxiety that I have never experienced before. But, I truly enjoy taking a lunch break and eating at the table with my family instead of eating at my desk as I work through lunch. It has been so nice to get outdoors more often whether we are going on walks, working in the garden, or running around the backyard with the dogs. 

How have you been managing work, family, friends, your own mental health during this time? What aspects of this new way of living do you plan to hold on to when this is all said and done? What aspects of the old way of living do you look forward to getting back? 

About the Author

JESSICA FUENTES: Manager of School and Community Outreach, Amon Carter Museum of American Art.  As an art educator with over thirteen years of experience Jessica has taught in both classroom and museum settings. She received her MA in Art Education from the University of North Texas. Jessica worked for six years at the Dallas Museum of Art as the Manager of Gallery Interpretation and the Center for Creative Connections prior to joining the Carter in 2018. Though much of her passion and work is focused on her local community, she serves on the Education Planning Committee for the Smithsonian Latino Center and as the Representative-Elect for the Western Region of the Museum Division of the National Art Education Association. In her downtime she can usually be found with her daughters out in nature, enjoying an art museum, or making art in their home studio. Jessica’s postings on this site are her own and don’t necessarily represent the Amon Carter Museum of American Art’s positions, strategies, or opinions.

2 thoughts on “New Normals: A photo essay”

  1. I really miss being out and about but the enormity of the Covid-19 pandemic is insane. I want people to be safe and have as many lives as possible saved so I’m happy to stay at home for that. Really miss hugging my family and friends but we are lucky to be in a house with some family and not in total isolation. I have had very little museum work this year with the arrival of two new managers and my projects already on hold before the pandemic. Taking time to think and read and walk the dog and be grateful for each day.

    1. Lyndall, Thanks for sharing your Covid-19 experiences. I’m sorry to hear that work was already slow before the pandemic and lockdown. I know many are facing unemployment and under-employment without a sense of when the economy might take a turn in a better direction and I can only imagine how stressful and scary that must be. I am inspired by your empathetic view as you look at the larger picture of how this inconvenience of staying home can have a huge impact on the number of lives that are saved. Thanks again for being a part of the conversation and I wish you and yours health, safety, and joy.

Leave a Reply to Lyndall Linaker Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.